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Industrial Revolution

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Industrial Revolution Collection

History Archive - Industrial Revolution Collection

The Industrial Revolution, now also known as the First Industrial Revolution, was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the United States, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, the increasing use of steam power and water power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the mechanized factory system. The Industrial Revolution also led to an unprecedented rise in the rate of population growth.

The Industrial Revolution marks a major turning point in history; almost every aspect of daily life was influenced in some way. Textiles were the dominant industry of the Industrial Revolution in terms of employment, value of output and capital invested. The textile industry was also the first to use modern production methods. The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain, and many of the technological innovations were of British origin.

By the mid-18th century Britain was the world's leading commercial nation, controlling a global trading empire with colonies in North America and the Caribbean, and with political influence on the Indian subcontinent, particularly Bengal Subah, through the activities of the East India Company. The development of trade and the rise of business were among the major causes of the Industrial Revolution.

Although the structural change from agriculture to industry is widely associated with the Industrial Revolution, in the United Kingdom it was already almost complete by 1760. The precise start and end of the Industrial Revolution is still debated among historians, as is the pace of economic and social changes. An economic recession occurred from the late 1830s to the early 1840s when the adoption of the original innovations of the Industrial Revolution, such as mechanized spinning and weaving, slowed and their markets matured.

Innovations developed late in the period, such as the increasing adoption of locomotives, steamboats and steamships, hot blast iron smelting and new technologies, such as the electrical telegraph, widely introduced in the 1840s and 1850s, were not powerful enough to drive high rates of growth. Rapid economic growth began to occur after 1870, springing from a new group of innovations in what has been called the Second Industrial Revolution. These new innovations included new steel making processes, mass-production, assembly lines, electrical grid systems, the large-scale manufacture of machine tools and the use of increasingly advanced machinery in steam-powered factories.

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